Birmingham City and Aston Villa fans encouraged to enjoy trouble-free derby this weekend.

West Midlands Police is encouraging Birmingham City and Aston Villa fans to enjoy derby day and ensure it remains trouble-free on Sunday (30/10).

The eagerly-awaited game at St Andrews is the first league fixture between the clubs for more than five years.

A visible police presence will be in place in and around the ground as part of policing plans to ensure the safety of the public.

Chief Inspector Nick Rowe, from West Midlands Police Football Unit, said: “It will be great to see two sets of passionate fans come along and enjoy the spectacle – and atmosphere – of a local derby.

“This is a great occasion and our role is to ensure a safe event for everyone who attends the game.

“The vast majority of supporters are well-behaved but there may be some who see the fixture as an excuse to cause trouble.

“We will not tolerate crime or violence which is connected to football. Anyone who is arrested for football-related matters may face the risk of a banning order which will prevent them from attending future fixtures.”

There will be a police and club search operation at the turnstiles including police sniffer dogs being deployed to ensure pyrotechnic devices such as flares and smoke bombs are not taken into the ground.

Officers have worked with both Birmingham City and Aston Villa in preparation for the fixture as well as speaking to representatives of supporter groups.

Following consultation with fans; away supporters will be held back in the ground for a brief period after the final whistle to assist the flow of people leaving the stadium.

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